Category Archives: Literature and Translation

Addio a Peter Bondanella (1943-2017)

Gino Moliterno    ANU

Peter Bondanella, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Film Studies and Italian at Indiana University, died on 28 May. In an academic career spanning more than four decades Bondanella’s contribution to Italian Studies was extraordinary; the falling silent of his voice will be very sad news for all Italianists in the English-speaking world, especially those interested in cinema. His generosity of spirit, the depth and breadth of scholarship, love of Italian cinema, sardonic sense of humour, and determination always to contribute to the valorisation of Italian culture will be greatly missed. Federico Fellini perhaps summed up Peter’s style best when, in the foreword he contributed to The Cinema of Federico Fellini (1992), he wrote: ‘The most exciting aspect of Bondanella’s work is, in fact, his inextinguishable faith in the power of reason and systematization which reminds us in a nostalgic way of methods and choices inspired by respect and harmony’.   Continue reading

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Il futuro della fine …

The idea of the apocalypse usually binds together catastrophe and rebirth, the end and the transcendence of the end. The conviction that the destruction of one world is accompanied by the construction of another has thus ensured a longstanding link between the idea of the  apocalypse and messianic-utopian thought. The Department of Italian Studies at the University of Warsaw, in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute, is holding an international and interdisciplinary conference, Il futuro della fine. Narrazioni e rappresentazioni dell’apocalisse dal Novecento a oggi, on December 4- 5, 2017.  The key theme is the paradigm of the apocalypse and post-apocalypse in culture and the arts from the early 20th century to the present day. Keynote speakers include Carla Benedetti (University of Pisa), Carlo Bordoni (University of Florence), Michele Cometa (University of Palermo), Sergio Givone (University of Florence) and Carlo Pagetti (University of Milan). Proposals for papers in Italian, English or Polish (title, abstract and brief author bio) must be submitted to convegno.apocalisse@gmail.com by July 20, 2017. Further details of the contents and registration can be found here.
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‘Tradurre è un bacio’

nicola_gardini_2Nicola Gardini, Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at Oxford University, author of novels, poetry collections, literary essays, and translations of poetry from English (W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Emily Dickinson among others), Latin (Ovid and Catullus), and Greek (Marcus Aurelius), will be in Sydney to share his experience of translation and to illuminate the nature of translation as a poetic process. On Wednesday 12 April, 5.00-6.30 pm, in the Dept of Italian, Sydney University, he will be in conversation with Marco Sonzogni (Victoria University of Wellington), a specialist in the poetry of Montale and Heaney. Gardini’s Viva il latino (Garzanti, 2016) has been on Italy’s bestselling list for months; its English translation will published in Australia by Text. His new book explores Ovid’s imagination and will appear at the beginning of May (Garzanti).

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‘A sort of Roman saint’

250px-giuseppe_gioachino_belli‘The greatest poet of the 19th century’ (1976) …. ‘one of the three major revelations of my later life’ (1990) … ‘to read the entire corpus is to be overwhelmed. One dares to speak about greatness’ (1992). Who can this poet be? Aha .. ‘aromatic Roman speech haloed by a sonnet’ (1977). That’s a clue – except that the poet himself corrected anyone who described his language as ‘Roman’ – ‘no, it’s romanesco’. This isn’t a competition so the cast can be revealed. The poet is Giuseppe Gioachino Belli (1791-1863) and the writer praising him is Anthony Burgess (1917-1993). The novelist is quoted by Paul Howard in this week’s TLS  (22 Feb, p.15) in a long introduction to an apparently unpublished essay by Burgess entitled ‘Belli into English’ (ibid., p.16). Overcoming his initial shock at Belli’s obscenity and blasphemy, Burgess had made translations of a selection from GGB’s s 2279 sonnets for his novel Abba Abba. But, acknowledging that the poet was ‘a sort of Roman saint’, Burgess found the work of translating him very hard: ‘Belli remains as one of the proofs that poetry is fundamentally untranslatable’.

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Dante, Petrarch, Machiavelli, Pirandello: Remo Bodei in Melbourne and Sydney

imagesThe philosopher Remo Bodei will be giving talks in Melbourne and Sydney in March. Time, eternity, history: Dante, Petrarch, Machiavelli is the title of his talk (in English) at the Italian Cultural Institute, 233 Domain Rd, South Yarra, on Thursday 9 March at 6.30pm (free, booking essential). On Friday March 10, at Co.As.It. – Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Carlton, he will be talking (in Italian) on Pirandello e la dissoluzione della personalità (free, booking essential), a lecture to mark the 150th anniversary of Pirandello’s birth. He will also be giving this talk in Sydney on 13 March, 4 – 5.30pm, in the Dept of Italian at the University of Sydney (registration here). On March 15, 6 – 7.30pm, he will talk on Memory and Forgetting: A Conflicting Complicity at the State Library of New South Wales (Metcalfe Auditorium, Macquarie Building: information for registration here) . For details of the contents of the talks Continue reading

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Shirley Hazzard (Sydney 1931 – New York 2016)

Brigitta Olubas   University of New South Wales

220px-shirley_hazzard_australian_writer_mercantile_library_for_fiction_benefit_awards_dinner_october_29_2007_photo_by_christopher_petersonShirley Hazzard was an author admired for the self-reflectiveness, delicacy of phrasing, wit and irony, intensely personal resonance and finely realised sense of place which characterised both her fictional and non-fictional writings. Italy played a fundamental part in her life and work. Her first year there, 1956, was spent in Tuscany where she established a close friendship with the Vivante family, artists, philosophers and writers, and developed the penetrating eye into social relationships of love and loss analysed in her novels set in Italy and elsewhere. She returned regularly to Naples and to Capri for the rest of her life and was made an honorary citizen of Capri in 2000. She often underlined her debt to Italy: “From the first day (in Naples), everything changed. I was restored to life and power and thought.” The point was never simply personal but rather bound to the persistence of humanist art and thought there: “In Italy, the mysteries remain important: the accidental quality of existence, the poetry of memory, the impassioned life that is animated by awareness of eventual death. There is still synthesis, rather than formula. There is still expressive language.”   Continue reading

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A tale of two journeys: the composition and publication of the Codice Rustici

codice-rustici-facsimile-olschki-itinerario-di-fede-firenze-gerusalemmeIn 1450 or thereabouts a Florentine goldsmith, Matteo di Bartolomeo Rustici, began to write down the story of a perhaps imaginary journey to the Holy Land a decade earlier. He relied heavily on his favourite readings, copying and abridging them, illustrating his accounts of places and events with detailed watercolours, frequently digressing from his main storyline to include instructions on Christian doctrine for pilgrims, potted biographies of saints, tales associated with the places visited, recommendations of cures for tarantula bites …. the result, in the words of Kathleen Olive and Nerida Newbigin, editors of the critical edition of the Codice Rustici, recently published (Olschki 2016) with a facsimile of the original and collection of essays, ‘resembling the worst kind of research uncritically cobbled together from internet sources’. The beautifully illustrated story of the text’s survival and its own journey towards publication is told by the editors here.

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Orlando, Rinaldo and Angelica arrive in Sydney

PALERMO 10/2012 PHOTO: ERIC VANDEVILLE

Il gran duello di Orlando e Rinaldo per amore della bella Angelica‘, narrated by Mimmo Cuticchio, master in the art of the Teatro dei Pupi Siciliani (Sicilian puppet theatre) and of the cuntu (oral tale),  will be presented for the first time in Australia at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, 1 Powerhouse Road (entry via Shepherd Street) in Sydney on Sunday 23 October at 11am and 5pm (bookings here). The show, the great duel between Orlando and Rinaldo to win Angelica’s heart, is an example of modification of the narrative structure of the Opra de’ Pupi, born out of the need to adapt the performance to a new audience. The language of the show is condensed in order to give more prominence to the staging quality than to a thorough development of the traditional story.   Continue reading

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Translating the self: story-telling, language and identity

imageredirectThe School of Languages, 200px-cristinawikiLiteratures and Linguistics (Monash)  and ACIS are organising a seminar Translating the self: story-telling, language and identity with presentations by the Somali-Italian writers Ubax Cristina Ali Farah and Kaha Mohamed Aden on Thursday 17 Nov from 1.00 pm – 5.00 pm at Monash’s Caulfield Campus Building S, 2nd floor, Room 230 (participation free but registration required). Ubax Cristina Ali Farah will discuss the role played by bilingual vision in her writing practice, especially in her novel Madre piccola. Kaha Mohamed Aden’s talk draws on her own experience and the complexities of understanding and misunderstanding that writing between two cultures generates. The abstracts of the two presentations, with the draft programme, map of the location and the short registration form, can be found here.

 

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Topographies of Identity

51dimkclgel-_sx331_bo1204203200_In her contribution to the recent volume edited by Patrizia Sambuco Italian Women Writers 1800-2000: Boundaries, Borders and Transgression (2015) Rita Wilson explores topographies of identity along frontiers (borders mark clear divisions; frontiers, the unstable meeting-place of differences). She considers the novels (I cristalli di Vienna (1978), Caffè specchi (1983), Angelo a Berlino (1987)) by Giuliana Morandini, in particular how and why her protagonists feel themselves to be outsiders present in but distanced from the Central European capitals where they live. She pursues the theme of partly alienated observers, disenchanted flâneuses in their city’s streets, in the novel Amiche per la pelle (2007) by Laila Waida, born in India but living in Trieste.  In the same volume Patrizia Sambuco examines how in Nel paese di Gesù. Ricordi di un viaggio in Palestina (1899) and Lettere di una viaggiatrice (1908)  Matilde Serao handles two further kinds of boundary-crossings: journeys into unfamiliar societies and the then unconventional role of women as travellers.

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